It's True: Kitchen renovations take over your life...

Monday, March 31, 2014
It is the last day of March, the second week of spring (not that today's sleet is telling of the new season) and I haven't blogged at all.


Because my life has been consumed by the home renovation project that everyone swears at under their breath... The kitchen.

The heart of the home... and our's has been in shambles (or some form of chaos) for the last three weeks.


Though I (still) can't share a final "after" shot, I am happy to show the cluttered before and give you a hint at few details that are changing. :)

We decided to keep our cabinets and appliances, but everything thing else is changing.

Rusted sink and corian counters- gone.

Cracked ceramic tiles- see ya! 

Brass patina-finish chandelier- your days are numbered, too.

Stay tuned for all the specifics about what we love and what I would do differently!

Ottoman just 2 naptimes!

Thursday, February 27, 2014
I am so excited to share my latest naptime project!

If you follow me on Instagram then you know that I scooped up this ottoman at my local thrift store on Monday.

Hello, 80's chevron beauty.  

There was a matching overstuffed granny chair to go with it... but I apologetically told the sales person that I wasn't taking that as well...

I knew I could easily recover this ottoman, and I could tell by the cushy feel that the insides were in good shape.  No bumps or lumps.  The best part of this find was the price- just $9.99!

Needless to say, while Lu napped on Monday afternoon I immediately went to town skinning this dusty old beauty.  I don't have professional reupholstery tools (nor will I ever, since a couch would be way beyond my comfort zone!) but armed with a screwdriver, scissors, and hammer I managed to get the old fabric, staples, and batting off in under an hour.

Yesterday morning I quickly spray painted the wooden legs with a coat of high-gloss white and while it dried Lu and I took a trip to the fabric store.

I decided on a black & white zebra print that was on clearance for $7 per yard.  I would never put animal print in any other room in our house, but Lu loves zebras and this ottoman will live in the playroom for now.  Plus, at this price, if I hate the zebra stripe in a year I can change it and not feel a bit guilty!

I bought 1.5 yards and during Lu's nap this afternoon stapled some extra batting I had and the fabric to cover the ottoman.  There are a million tutorials out there on how to re-cover an ottoman without I won't bother with the details.  Just think of it like wrapping a present and stapling the underside. Easy easy.

Final product for a playroom ottoman at just over $20... Perfect.  

Of course, Lu loves the "saaawft zeebie" fabric too and went to town sitting and playing on this new seat after she napped.

In case you're curious (which of course, I was!), here are some zebra ottomans I found online.  Not a single one for under $100!

Transitional Zebra Ottoman-$166, Zebra Cocktail Ottoman-$699
Zebra Delrey Ottoman- $349, Abbyson Living Zebra Cube Ottoman- $136

Have you ever seen something at a thrift store and then decided that you needed it?!  Please share!

Picture Book of the Week: Bee-Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park

Saturday, February 22, 2014
Hi friends!

One of my weekly outings with Lu has been to our town public library.  For several months we were attending baby class, which she loved but has since outgrown.   Now we just go and check out 6 or 7 picture books to add some variety to her permanent faves at home.  Without fail, each week she gravitates toward just a couple of the books I chose and we read them over and over and over again.

The funny thing is, it is so hit or miss picking books from the shelf, and so often the book I think she'll love most we only read once.

Since it is so difficult to know which books she is going to like, I thought it would be fun to share them so you can have fewer "misses" and more "hits" when you check out your local library or children's bookstore.

This week's favorite: Bee-Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park.

The book is about a mom and girl fixing a Korean dinner.  The pictures are vibrant and show a lot of action, something new for Lu to point out each time we read it.  The text is like the title sounds- bopping rhyming words.  The meal may be Korean, but the basic idea of preparing a meal and then eating as a family is universal.  I honestly didn't even mind reading this a dozen times. :)

I hope you enjoy reading this to your munchkin too!

Toddler-Approved Tuesday: Broccoli Cheese Soup

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Over the past few months I've come to realize what most parents of toddlers already know: toddlers are extremely opinionated.

Lu has an opinion about everything these days.

The food she likes (and will soon dislike).
The snack she wants.
The cup she wants her water in.
The book she wants to read.
Even the clothes she wears.  Seriously.

Given her ever-changing list of likes and dislikes, I thought it would be helpful to chronicle the things she does approve of and share them with you.  Who knows, maybe your youngster will approve as well... And if not this week, maybe next, right?  From now on, Tuesday posts will be dedicated to all things toddler-approved.

To kick it off, here is a recipe I used to make Broccoli Cheese soup for myself and Matt one night for dinner.  The next night Lu chowed down on the leftovers.  I was thrilled!  The recipe an easy alteration of this one using what I had in my fridge.

Broccoli Cheese Soup (4-6 servings)

1/4 cup butter
1 small onion diced
2 small heads of broccoli, lightly steamed & chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Mexican cheese blend
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup cornstarch

Melt the butter in a large pot.  Add onions and cook until soft, seasoning with salt & pepper.  Add the broccoli, cover with chicken broth and simmer about 10 minutes.  Next, mix in the shredded cheese (really, you can use any kind) and stir until melted.  Add milk.  In a separate small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and water until combined.  Add to your soup and stir until thick.


Fighting Cabin Fever with an 18-month-old

Thursday, February 13, 2014
In the last two weeks we have been snowed-in twice.  I know we aren't alone in feeling like winter has overstayed its welcome...

Snow days have a completely different meaning from what they once were as a child-free teacher.  Now, a snow day is a day stuck inside without a chance of running the usual morning errand and me grasping at anything to keep Lu's spirits up.  Sledding is out of the question until the snow stops.   I can't blame her for being sick of her toys by the end of the day.  I am too!  

Here are a few things that have saved us...

Artsy mornings!  

Lu has been big into coloring with crayons, but we just started using watercolor paints (finger paints were not a hit...).  Doing art in place of our usual morning outing keeps the day from getting monotonous. 

These Melissa & Doug Paint with Water books are great.  There is dried paint on the top of each page and you just need a wet brush.  Genius. 

Introducing something new.  

At Lu's 18 month ped visit last week her doctor suggested getting a potty now so that as soon as shows the signs that she is ready, the potty itself will be familiar.

Hello, potty.  

I pulled this out and bought myself a good 20 minutes of Lu investigating something new. 

Lastly, dance party.  

No photos here since I was swinging her around in my arms!  

Her 2 favorite adult songs right now are "Ho, Hey" and "Happy."  She likes the repetition and sings along like a champ!  (Toddler radio doesn't happen on a day like this or I might lose my mind.)  :)

Please share any tricks you have to keep a toddler from getting cabin fever! 

And...Happy Valentine's Day Eve! 

Upcycled BabyGap Jacket... For $4!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
It is no secret that I love a good bargain, especially with kids clothes.  You can imagine how thrilled I was last week when I popped into a local children's consignment shop and saw end-of-season clearance bins for $1.  Lu was with me so I only had a few minutes to rifle through the 2T-3T girls stuff.  A lot of it was eh.  

But I did find a BabyGap denim jacket in practically new condition.  Yes, for $1.

The only problem was that it was white denim with a pink dye wash.  I know it was on trend 2 years ago, but it looked like someone accidentally washed it with a red sweater.  Not cute.

But for $1- hey, I can work some DIY magic!

Enter the Rit fabric dye.  Less than $3 for the box at Michael's.  The colors that I knew would cover the pink were fuschia, pale pink, and scarlet red.  Pink jackets are a dime a dozen for little girls so I went with the scarlet.

Dying fabric is ridiculously easy- all you need to do is follow the instructions on the box.  I chose the hot water in a bucket method.  I used 1/2 the dye powder and let the jacket soak for about 10 minutes (I knew I wanted a lighter red).  Rinse, wash, and let dry.

Final result- cost less than $4 and took 20 minutes of effort.

And it is adorable (if I do say so myself).

Here is how I envision it looking in the spring.

Please take note of the fact that Lu was watching the snow fall while I dressed her in this spring outfit. Ha! 

Right now you can get this exact BabyGap jacket in a dark denim version online for $29.99.  Or, save a few bucks and find a quality consignment shop near you.  :)  A helpful website is  Happy bargain hunting and DIY-dying!

What to take to a party when the host says don't bring anything...

Monday, February 3, 2014
Aside from the obligatory bottle of wine, of course! ;)

We were invited to a neighbor's house for a casual Super Bowl party and told "no need to bring anything."  I could never show up empty-handed, but flowers or some other hostess type gift just didn't seem appropriate.  Especially considering I'd be taking Lu home to bed after only an hour while the husband stayed behind...

I decided to make a breakfast bread.  Not Super Bowlish at all, I know.  Here's my logic: I hate it when we host and I (undoubtedly) make too much food knowing people will also bring stuff... then it gets thrown away after sitting for hours on the table.   But, I hate even more the next day when you suddenly realize you need to cook all over again.  

Wouldn't it be nice to at least have breakfast taken care of?!

I used this Williams-Sonoma recipe for Lemon-Blueberry Bread, but I did not add the syrup or drizzle icing.  I wanted to keep it simple, but the sweeter version does sound good for an afternoon appetizer with tea.  

Tie on a thank you note and I think it looks much better than another seven-layer-nacho dip.

New Year, New Blog Goal, and a Spot of Tea

Friday, January 31, 2014
I had no intention of going blog-radio-silent. 

Since my last post I found myself in a life whirlwind of surprise party, vacation, holidays holidays holidays, dead phone, and sick baby.  

Nothing like using (and actually having) every excuse in the book, right? 

I have also been playing a part in a lot of Cinderella tea parties and it has been just lovely.  

In all honesty, the unexpected break allowed me to take a step back from not only my blog, but looking at other blogs as well.  

As a new blogger, I think it is important to have a sense of what is trending on other blogs.  But after getting sucked into the blackhole of Pinterest and Bloglovin, I can sometimes find myself one link away from feeling less inspired.  

My goal for is for this blog to be an honest representation of my life at home.  I want to share my inspired creative moments with you.  But I also want to share the not-picture-perfect-no-makeup-frazeled-mommy moments too.  I know my house doesn't look like a styled photoshoot (nor will it ever) and I'm okay with that.  Similarly, there is no need to aspire to a styled photoshoot blog life.  This blog is real life at home.  

In honor of this blogger revelation, I gave the blog a quick new year touch-up.  If you like the new classic design check out Nudge Media Design on Etsy.  

Thanks for reading- it should be a fun year!

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